Plain Dealer Cleveland, OH
Wednesday, October 27, 1999
EXPERT WITNESS PLEADS GUILTY TO PERJURY HE TESTIFIED CMHA LETTERS WERE GENUINE
by JAMES EWINGER PLAIN DEALER REPORTER
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (216) 999-4111
A self-described handwriting expert
pleaded guilty to perjury
for lying about his credentials when he testified for a
F. Aurelius McKanze faces up to five
years in prison.
McKanze, who also uses the name Fulton J. McCants, testified Sept.
in the civil suit Claire E. Freeman-McCown brought against the
Metropolitan Housing Authority for her 1998 firing. Freeman-
was fired because the CMHA board found that she received about
in unauthorized loan payments and fringe benefits.
McKanze testified that two letters
authorizing payments for
which the board claimed were forged, were in fact
The jury in that case found in favor
of CMHA, and ordered Freeman-
to pay $462,200 because she defrauded the housing agency.
Within a day of McKanze's testimony,
numerous current and former
employees called The Plain Dealer to denounce McKanze as a man
an extensive criminal record, including convictions for several
and fraud-related charges going back to 1961. He also had
for the agency.
Lawyers for Freeman-McCown insisted
that they did not know of
and said they got his name from the phone book,
"handwritinganalysts and experts," while preparing Freeman-
McKanze testified that he was a
certified document examiner, had
from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel and had an
degree from Ohio State University and a graduate degree
psychology from the University of Arizona.
Calls to the colleges and a federal
records center in St. Louis
that he never attended either school, and may have served as
enlisted man under another name.
In a phone interview last month,
McKanze, who gave his age as 62,
the criminal history and lack of academic records by saying
someone had stolen his credentials and identity.
McKanze, appearing in court yesterday,
told Common Pleas Judge
J.Greene that he actually is 70. She set his bond at $2,500.
His lawyers declined to comment.
"This con man's aliases, bogus degrees and fast talking have
him," said County Prosecutor William D. Mason. "I assigned two
prosecutors who have eliminated this threat to the
of our justice system."
Assistant County Prosecutor Frankie
Goldberg said "plain and
he lied when he testified. He betrayed the justice system."
Assistant County Prosecutor Darcy
Moulin said she discovered a
record showing that McKanze was called as an expert witness in
But the judge did not let him testify because his credentials
not support his claim as a handwriting expert.
Moulin said "it appears he used
that experience as a learning
because he lied and embellished his credentials to shield him
After Plain Dealer inquiries exposed
McKanze last month, CMHA
subpoenaed him, and Judge Nancy Fuerst issued a bench
all of which he ignored.
Sheriff's Inspector Daniel Calvey said that when detectives later
a search warrant for Moulin and Goldberg, they found the
subpoenas still glued to the front door of McKanze's South
home while he was in the backyard mowing grass.
Michael Reilly, owner of Reilly
Painting and Contracting in
Heights, said he was surprised to learn of McKanze's
Reilly said he had employed McKanze for nine years and
McKanze did exemplary work. In one case, Reilly said, McKanze
an employee who wrote an obscene note to Reilly and left
on his car.
"It's ironic to find that our
background checker had background